In a blog post published by Kamala Subramaniam of Microsoft Azure on Thursday, Sept. 22, Microsoft introduced the new Linux-built Azure Cloud Switch (ACS), its response to the need for an operating system specifically built for data centre networking. ACS supports a faster debugging, fixing and testing of software bugs as well as streamlining a program to make it more effective in its data and networking functions.

In the past, Microsoft was hostile to the Open Source, which is a program that allows source code to be available to the general public for use free of charge,  and was unthinkable that it would take the services of Linux to power up their cloud services. The two giant companies used to attack each other and Microsoft has joined sponsorship on a copyright case against Linux.

It was in 2006 when Microsoft has changed leadership that it started to open its doors. It partnered with Novell to enable Linux to manage its virtual machines. Since then, Microsoft seems to have become comfortable with Linux and to the open source community.

Microsoft has announced about ACS as it believes that "the approach of disaggregating the switch software from the switch hardware will continue to be a growing trend in the networking industry," said Subramanian. The company hopes to update and share their experiences of their new endeavour from now on.

The new Linux-based OS for datacentre switches calls for rumours of a new Microsoft Linux distribution to be available in the near future. But, despite all the blog posts, headlines and news reports, the answer to the rumour is still a "No."

ACS is used for internal purposes and is contributing the ACS code to support the Open Compute Project as Microsoft has joined this in 2014 and has been one of the founding members and major contributor to its SAI project. Facebook created the OCP foundation in 2011 with the purpose of building cheap datacentres.